Tuesday, September 1, 2015

my big news





I’ve been meaning to tell you about the decision I made recently.

It feels like big news to me, although I’m aware that in the blog world it might seem like peanuts in the stature department. No mind blowing book deal or major blog awards here.

But I’m sharing this today because you might be able to relate to my story. And maybe –just maybe--it might offer you something helpful for your own life.

You see, I made this quick decision about a new endeavor that actually feels like risk-taking to me. And it was really unlike me.

It’s not that I don’t do ‘risks’….but I’m the kind of person who likes to wait until I’m ‘ready’ before jumping into new things, which translates into waiting until I can do things “right” or “good enough.” 

I don’t know. Maybe it’s about not wanting to look like an idiot in front of others, or not wanting to feel too-vulnerable, but I don’t immediately say “Yes” to big, new ventures without a lot of thought.  And I didn’t do that this time.



But let me explain.

If you’re a regular to my blog you already know about our major relocation last year, how we left our hometown, sold the family home we raised our boys in, said goodbye to our family and our dear friends, and moved to Southern California in what felt like a new adventure.

Well it was during those crazy months when we we struggling to find a suitable home to buy and were cramped into a small condo next to a street that sounded like a freeway, that I noticed a local hot yoga studio nearby.

And on a whim, I went to my first yoga class at age 55.

Which is still hard for me to believe. Even now I wonder how it is I never tried yoga before because I was always a gym person. Only like a lot of other interesting possibilities, yoga was one of those things that stayed on the fringe of my peripheral vision.  It was there, but for another day.

I guess it’s like most things in life. Timing is everything.

Here I was, feeling the stress of living in a new city without a home. Feeling antsy and anxious and frustrated for results, and yet out-of-control over my immediate future.


Enter yoga.

I wish I could say I was a dutiful student. But the truth is, that even though I felt the immediate effects of yoga on my mind and body …the minute we moved into our fixer upper I stopped going. There was just SO much to do to get the house livable that it felt like I couldn’t fit one more thing into my schedule.

But it was ok. Because the importance of this brief entry into yoga was that it opened a door in my life. And I was able to sense the possibility of a different way of living. Which left a deep imprint on me.

So I found my way back a few months ago. And while I was settling back into the classes and as my achy, stiff body began to get reacquainted with the mat, I heard the announcement go throughout the entire studio about the upcoming Teacher Training Class: a 200 hour credentialed program beginning September 11-November 15th.

I still don’t know what made me do it.

But after class I went up to ask the beautiful, young, tattooed instructor about the specifics of the course. I wasn’t interested in teaching. God no, not me. I was simply smitten with the calmness and peace and sweat that poured over me after each class. I was curious about the philosophy. About the history of the poses, about the word “Namaste,” and everything to do with the soulful part of the practice.

And afterwards when Shannon—a gifted instructor-- encouraged me to listen to the stirrings in my heart that were pulling toward this path, I listed lots of credible reasons why I couldn’t do it. My newness to yoga, my age, the physical stamina of the course, my disinterest in teaching, the investment of time and money ….

We kept texting each other and here’s one of her responses:

Hi Leslie,

I'm so happy that you are listening to the inner voice that is drawing you toward this path.

I know you are concerned about a few things: money, age and ability. Your True Happiness is priceless and I can share with you from my own experience that the yogic path has brought me nothing but contentment and inner peace, and I absolutely love sharing that path with as many people as possible. The physical poses are but one small part of the yogic path; a tool that keeps us supple, that detoxes the body and the mind along with breath control in an effort to move us further along the path toward inner peacefulness. Yoga truly is for EVERY-BODY! We will be practicing and learning postures throughout training, but we will also learn how to modify, use props and help others who may have limitations or injuries. I have been in advanced trainings with women your age and older, so please feel confident in your journey forward.


After I read this text I just knew. Even before my awesome hubby began his encouragement.

I can’t honestly remember the last time I felt myself standing at a something that felt like a crossroads and facing a path that seemed equally intriguing and unknown, at the same time. But in the end I said yes because despite all the unknowns, I do know a few things.

  • I know that I want—no I need --to keep growing. From the inside out.
  • I know I’m tired of worrying.
  • I know I want to feel more calmness and peacefulness in my life--even when everything around me feels out-of-my-control.
  • I want to stop feeling like if only I work a little harder I can stop the bad things from happening.
  • I want to stop waiting to be “ready”.
  • I want to be able to step away from the frenzied pace of our lives
  • I want be the oldest person in a class and be damn proud.
  • I want to care more about trying and less about failure.


Can you relate to any of this?

Anyway, yesterday I bought my three books—the required reading, and I have to admit, I’m getting excited. Even if I’m still thinking, “I can’t believe I’m doing this,”  it’s getting better. The nervous part.

Are you interested to know about this 200 hour course? I was thinking of sharing my experience with you if so.

Afterwards I’ll will be certified to teach yoga which is a vision that makes me laugh. Me. In front of a class. Trying to remember which hand is right and which is left.

But I’ll keep you posted.

And maybe you might have something in your life that you’ve always wanted to try too. Something that you can’t imagine yourself doing….until you imagine.

I’d sure love to hear about it.


By the way—a special thank you to my friend Catherine—who has been spreading her yoga wisdom across the ocean to me for a while now---and helped me more than she knows.


to all my friends reading this,







Friday, August 28, 2015

my kitchen update



It’s been awhile since I’ve shared my kitchen with you so I decided to snap a few photos and show you some recent changes.

I finally found a round dining table for the kitchen nook along with a cool, industrial letter from the same antique store and well, you know how that goes…suddenly I got inspired to spruce things up a bit.


My kitchen gallery wall

Yesterday I decided to shop my house and garage and I pulled together a few items for a new gallery wall. 

What do you think about art in the kitchen? Even before I saw it HERE, I’ve always thought that art –especially vintage--in the kitchen can add warmth and soul to a space we spend so much time in.

Plus—now that we’re in a smaller house I have to be creative about using my paintings and prints.

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And the minute I saw this 32 inch tall “E” with it’s black metal front and the forest green sides I envisioned it next to this vintage oil painting I got years ago for my anniversary.

So in-the-kitchen the gallery wall goes.


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I’ve really been trying to decorate with what I have and luckily it worked out fine.

I even found some miscellaneous wood pieces outside-- leftover from our recent brick project with my Dad--- and it’s given me the idea for a little coffee station in the corner.


But back to my new table. Here’s a closer look at it.

I literally walked up to a new dealer who was still moving into her booth when I saw this table. It was exactly what I’d been wanting for this small space.

Have you had that happen too? You see something and you instantly know, “Yep, that’s the one.”

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Oh and I gotta you show you my door too.

Ever since we’ve moved into this home one of my “hobbies” has been to paint all these cheapo doors with BM’s Mopboard Black. I originally saw this shade of black—HERE. And not only do I love her taste but this particular black seems to have a lot of blue in it. Which feels right for our ‘beach’ cottage vibe.

I’m almost done…(only 3 more doors to go) but boy, what a time-consuming job.




If you’re new to this blog…. here’s what this kitchen nook looked like during our first Christmas here when we were using our outdoor table. 

I’ve  recently moved the big clock into our living room.

And though you might be thinking the rustic table looked just fine in here, the truth was, no one was eating on it because it felt too big for daily use.

We’ve already used our new round table more than the this one.




Hmm.. when I see this photo it reminds me of the chandelier I need to get fixed. 

Because this space is definitely missing a lighting fixture.

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My former kitchen

Remember this chandelier from my old home? Well two of the arms broke during our move, and I still haven’t fixed them, otherwise I’d put it up over the table right now.

Our old home had tall ceilings and the chandelier seemed a bit small in scale for it, but with the low ceilings in this house it might be perfect here.



Ok. So you want to hear my latest little project as of today?


When I found the leftover pieces of wood on the side of the house I decided to make shelves with them and turn this empty corner into a functional coffee central.



Simple, nothing designer-ish.  But it will be nice to have one place for everything coffee.


What are you working on these days?





I’m sharing this post with these friends:

French Country Cottage

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Monday, August 24, 2015

how I made these pretty centerpieces using pineapple vases




On Saturday I made these two tropical centerpieces for my next door neighbors.

Jeff and Maria were celebrating the life of their Dad –and father-in-law--who had recently passed away at the age of ninety two. Because he was such a fun-loving guy who lived in Hawaiian shirts, shorts and flip-flops they asked their guests to come dressed in tropical attire and they had a live band, lots of food and a microphone set up for guests to share their memories of Leonard.



It was so lovely.

Because it was being hosted at their home I decided to bring flowers they could use on their yellow tablecloths. I’d seen pineapples used as vases before and I thought it would go perfectly with their theme.

And I took some pictures to show you how I did it.













For these centerpieces I headed over to our local grocery store and bought :

  • one big bouquet filled with orange and yellow gerbera daisies
  • white chrysanthemums
  • yellow snapdragons
  • and  Queen Annie’s Lace,
  • one bouquet of white roses
  • 4 fresh limes (stuck on wood skewers)
  • misc filler flowers

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Whenever I’m doing more than one arrangement for an event I like to do them concurrently so even though they’re different, the composition is similar.

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After your flowers are arranged in your pineapple “vase” you can hide the rim of the cup by tucking moss along the edges. I think the moss looks so vibrant next to the colors of the fresh pineapple don’t you think?


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I sure hope you enjoyed this post today.


Happy Monday my friends!





Wednesday, August 19, 2015

cottage charm: decorating with hats



I have a thing for hats.

I just love the warmth and texture they add to a room and when I’m shopping second hand stores I’m always on the look-out for ones that are comfortably worn and slightly quirky…




Today, in honor of these dog days of summer I thought I’d share some of my favorite hat vignettes with you. Sorry I don’t have a lot of the original sources.






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Here’s a photo of some of my hats in the entry of our former home.

Since then I’ve continued adding to my collection and now that we’re living in an actual beach community they really complement our cottage vibe.



I recently hung a single hat on my office gallery wall where it resembles a bonnet over my vintage gal.


And here’s a shot from our all-white guest bedroom…Van Gogh surrounded by straw hats.

Did you know there are stories of Van Gogh painting late into the night with candles on his easel and in the brim of his hat?

Just a little straw hat trivia.


So after seeing these photos,

can you think of a good spot around your home to display a hat?


On a side note, my parents are visiting all this week and we’ve been busy hanging out and having fun together.  Life is good. Tomorrow we head to Disneyland—haven’t been there in years  (I want to see if the Tiki Room is still there)

Also-I’ve been doing a few home projects with my Dad (of course) and I’ll be back shortly to show you what I did with those 150 year old corbels!


Happy August Days,







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